Barry Bannan was born in Airdrie, Scotland, on 1st December 1989.
He began playing at a local youth team Lenzie Youth Club, and came to prominence as a nine-year-old ball boy for Albion Rovers, he came to prominence during a match against Montrose, when after fetching the ball, he began juggling it and then flicked it over the head of a Montrose player running towards him. The bit of skill sent the crowd wild and Albion Rovers chairman Davie Shanks was impressed, saying "He's the best player out there".
He joined Celtic's youth team in 2002 where he remained until fourteen - after which he accepted a two year youth contract following a trial at Aston Villa. Turning professional in 2008, Bannan made his first team debut as a sub in a 1-3 UEFA Cup group stage defeat to German side Hamburg, with his first start coming in an away defeat in the same competition to CSKA Moscow.
Soon after, he joined Derby County on loan for a month in March 2009, scoring on his debut against Sheffield United. He did so well that his loan deal was extended until the end of that season.
He joined Blackpool on loan the following season, which ended in promotion to the Premier League following a Wembley win against Cardiff City. In total he made 20 appearances for Blackpool under Ian Holloway, scoring once.
Bannan returned to Villa for the 2010-11 season, and made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the season, coming on as an 89th minute substitute against West Ham United. He was given a run of games in the first team by former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier, though joined Leeds United on loan that same March until the end of the season.
He would go on to score his first goal in the Premier League for Aston Villa the following year when he scored a penalty away to Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. Towards the end of the 2012-13 season, Bannan found his first team opportunities limited and a move away from the club looked increasingly likely. A £750,000 move to Blackburn Rovers fell apart, reportedly due to the player's wage demands.
He would leave the following season, to be reunited with ex-Blackpool boss Holloway at Crystal Palace. After just 18 appearances, and a solitary goal, he joined Bolton Wanderers on loan for the duration of the 2014/15 season as part of the deal that saw Lee Chung-Yong join Crystal Palace.
A full international, Bannan made his debut for the Scotland national team against Faroe Islands in November 2010. He has since made 19 appearances for the Scottish side without troubling the scorekeepers.